Warning! if you have been bitten by a snake, it is best to seek immediate medical advice from your doctor. This site DOES NOT provide medical advice. **This article was recently edited and updated by Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM
I’ve always been interested in snakes, and I often wonder what happens when a reticulated python bites, so I did a little research and here is what I found.
So, what happens when you get bitten by a reticulated python snake?
Reticulated python snakes might be big, but they are not venomous snakes. You will be facing their strong jaw grip, but they have 6 rows of teeth. Two on the top, 2 on the bottom and 2 along their pallet.
Depending on how hard and how aggressive the reticulated python bites you may be left with very serious wounds. Other times their teeth may not do a lot of damage and only draw a little blood. No matter how server the bite it you may need it looked at by your doctor. You will want to disinfect the area and try not to panic.
While the answer to that question may be plain and simple, there is much more to question when it comes to being bitten by a snake. There are still some things you should know about the structure of a snake bite, how their teeth are aligned for the most damaging strike, and how dangerous can a venomous bite be.
All About the Bite
The first thing to think about if you have been bitten, and the main reason to be concerned, is whether the snake bite is from a potentially venomous snake. Nonvenomous snake bites pose no real threat. At most the act of the snake sinking its teeth into you will be shocking and possibly a little painful for a short while. However, for venomous snakes, it can be a different story.
Pythons are not venomous snakes. They can however cause a lot of skin damage and cause you to develop an infection. It would be best to fully clean these areas and see your doctor to make sure that you do not develop an infection.
If you do get bit by a venomous, chances of death are still low due to the medical advancements that have been made. You can still experience symptoms from these bites if not taken care of immediately.
Poison vs. Venom
The difference between venom and poison is simple. Poison is a substance that can cause harm or even extreme danger if swallowed or inhaled by anyone or anything. Venom is a special substance that causes harm when it is injected under the skin by a snake, or a spider.
Venom does not come out of every snake in the same way. The amount of venom inside a snake depends on its venom gland and the size of the snake itself. The size of this venom gland can be about 1-850 mg or more.
This venom gland can be thought of as similar to a salivary gland. This gland is located behind the eye of the snake. There has been some research done on which snake has the largest venom gland, and it is the Blue Coral Snake.
Along with the venom gland, there is the mouth and teeth of a snake through which the venom comes out of. Snakes teeth are fairly small and so sharp that they can give a clean bite. Their teeth are also shaped in such a way that it is curved towards the back of their mouth. It is normal for the bite to be a bit painful. If it is just a small bite it can heal very quickly leaving no scar behind.
Other bites can cause large cuts and will need to be surgically repaired. This may leave very large scars or even loss of limbs.
If you do get bit by a snake, it is best to not try to pull your arm away. You cannot physically pull them off you unless they let go. Since their teeth are curved, to pull them off will cause long jagged cuts on the area and extreme bleeding. If you wait for the snake to let go of you it can leave you with small tiny pinpricks of bites.
Along with how much venom is in a snake, something else to consider is how toxic that venom is within each drop.
Most Venoms Snake toxin in the USA?
There has been some research conducted by scientists who tested the most toxic snake venoms on mice. They came to the conclusion of the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake earning the title of having the most toxic venom in the Unites States.
And while they did test this, the results are only reliable when referring to other animals. We do not know how toxic their venom is up against a human being.
What is the deadliest snake in the world?
We do know that the deadliest snake in the world is the Saw-scaled Viper because its bite has been documented to kill the most people, but many of the deaths were because people did not reach out for medical help.
There are about seven thousand venomous snake bite cases that are reported every year in the United States, and while a bite from that kind of snake can be deadly, it is unlikely that you are going to be killed from it unless you do not seek medical care right away.
There are only about six deaths every year from venomous snake bites, and those are mainly due to those victims refusing to go in for professional medical help or living in very rural areas with limited access to medical care.
Here are some ways to determine whether you have a snake, bite since can be difficult to identify if you have never been bitten by one. To identify a snake bite, look for the following symptoms:
- puncture wounds, usually about two
- swelling and redness around the bite or wound
- pain at the site where bitten
- you may experience difficulty breathing
- vomiting and nausea may occur
- blurred vision
- excessive salivating and sweating
- numbness in the limbs and face
Information on Reticulated Pythons
Reticulated pythons are known for their very present personalities and temperaments. They can be described as “psycho,” which is a bit of an exaggeration by those who have never owned one.
There is a misunderstanding that comes for these snakes because of their poor reputation. In fact, their true temperament will be revealed if they are treated properly and if you do research on its history.
These pythons are predators which can play heavily on how they behave and can explain their sudden take of actions. They are also one of the smartest snakes among their family of constrictors. They can remember their owners and remember bad experiences.
A link to a video on caring for your reticulated python in order to better understand their behavior (and therefore know the best way to handle them) can be found here.
These pythons are the longest growing species of pythons. They can exceed twenty feet in length. Sexually mature males grow to about 14 feet while a female grows to 16 feet.
What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
While it is common to only know of venomous and non-venomous snake bites, there is another separating characteristic for the category: dry bites.
A dry bite is a bite from a venomous snake in which the snake does not inject any venom. Unfortunately, just because there is not toxin does not mean that the bite will not need attention and tending to. All snake bites are susceptible to infection if not treated carefully.
First and foremost, here are some rules to follow by to prevent yourself from being bitten again:
- Keep your pet snake fed
- Never offer it food directly from your hand
- Approach it slowly when you are about to handle it
- Handle your snake calmly, and gently
- Avoid handling your snake when it is in the middle of shedding its skin.
First Aid for Snake Bites
If you are bitten by your snake, these are some of the first things that you need to do in order to make sure that you are taken care of.
- Call 911 immediately
- Make sure to know the time of when you got bitten
- Make sure to stay calm and be still as possible to prevent the venom from moving quickly
- Take off any tight clothing or jewelry that can make your bite swell
- Do not walk if you have been bitten
- Do not kill or try to hold the snake
First Aid Myths About Snake Bites
There are a few myths that can be found about snake bite. These are things that you should not do if you are bitten by a snake.
- Do not use a tourniquet
- Do not try to cut into the snake bite
- Don’t put a cold compress on the bite
- Do not give any medication to the person until a doctor says so
- Do not raise the area where the person may have been bitten
- Do not try to suck the venom out using your mouth
- Do not use a pump suction; this was previously believed to help when a venomous snake bite occurs but is now decided to cause more harm
Once you have taken care of the bite you got from your pet snake, you should make sure your snake is placed back into its terrarium or cage safely and securely with a lid over it. Make sure that your snake also does not look ill or hurt in any way.
Make sure to feed it if you think that the reason it bit you was that your snake was hungry. If your snake is shedding, you can try to help it in its process by giving it a shallow bowl with warm water so it can soak in it.
If the snake is showing signs of lethargy or hiding and refusing to eat its prey as well as a changes in skin color, you will want to speak to your vet for further diagnosis.
Maybe your snake is not a snake made for captivity at all. Not all snakes are made for a life in captivity. Snakes such as ball pythons, corn snakes, rosy boas, and California king snakes are usually snakes that make great pets because of their calm and friendly nature.
Snakes such as black racers or reticulated pythons usually do not make great pets for first time snake owners. They are much more aggressive and are more likely to bite you if they feel threatened.
If you do not want to get bitten, it would be best to stay away from snakes with unpredictable behaviors.
Death by Snake Bite
Chances of dying from a simple snake bite in the United States is almost zero. In study published by the CDC about 5 people die each year from a snake bite.
These low numbers are because of the medical care that is easily accessible in the US to anyone that may need it. Most bites that cause death are by venomous snakes.
Here is a list of the some of the most poisonous snakes:
- Eastern Brown Snake
- Mainland Tiger snake
- Inland Taipan
- Russell’s Viper
- Blue krait
- Mojave Rattle snake
- Stiletto Snake
- Saw-Scaled Viper
- King Cobra
- Coastal Taipan
- Banded Krait
- Common Death Adder
- Beaked Sea Snake
- Black Mamba
- Chinese Cooperhead
- South American Bushmaster
- Belcher’s Sea Snake
- Blue Malayan Coral Snake
FACT: Less than 37,500 people are bitten by a venomous snake every year, which is the equivalent of 7 to 8,000 bites a year. Which is about 5 to 6 deaths a year. There are approximately 6 deaths caused by snake bites every year.
Here is a list of venomous snakes (and the symptoms of their respective venoms) that can lead to death if not taken to reach medical help immediately (there will also be a brief description of the snake)
These kind of snakes are easily identifiable. They have rings at the end of their tails and when they feel threatened you will hear a rattling noise that is basically their way of telling you to back away.
They are one of the largest of the most venomous snake in the United States and they account for many of the bite people receive every year. They are found across the country in almost any habitat, they will most likely be found in the sun, in an open are with logs and rocks.
If bitten by one you will experience the following:
- Severe pain
- Drooping eyelids
- Low blood pressure
- Tiredness or muscle weakness
Water Moccasins or Cottonmouths
This snake is a type of pit viper, but most likely known by others as a cottonmouth because of the color of the inside of its mouth. The average size of this snake is about fifty to fifty-five inches. The adults have dark black skin with matching brown and black crossbands.
When they are younger, they will have brown and orange crossbands with a yellow-tail. You can find these snakes near water in southeastern states. They are also not easily fearful and will fight back if they need to.
If bitten by a cottonmouth you will experience the following:
- Immediate pain and symptoms
- Change in skin color
- Low blood pressure
Copperheads are characterized by their red or gold skin with hourglass-shaped bands across them. This snake is about eighteen to thirty-six inches long.
They are most likely found in forests, swamps, rocky areas or rivers in eastern states as far as to Texas. These snakes are not aggressive but will bite you if you step on it.
If bitten by one you will experience the following:
- Immediate pain and symptoms
- change in skin color
- low blood pressure
Coral snakes have vibrant colors on their skin. Colors of black, yellow, and red bands and because of this, they are often confused with non-venomous king snakes.
You can usually tell the difference between the two by looking at the tail of a coral snake, it will have red bands touch with its yellow bands. These snakes can be found in the marshes, woods and sandy areas located in the south. They also like to hide under leaf piles and underground.
If bitten by a coral snake you will experience the following:
- Drooping eyelids
- Change in skin color
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty swallowing
Pain may not start immediate, and you may not notice any of these symptoms until a few hours after the bite either. So just because you do not see these signs right away, you still need to see a doctor.
Treatments to Follow after Being Bitten
An important rule to follow is to see medical help immediately, the longer you delay your healing process, the more symptoms you will experience, and you can cause your body damage as well.
And, depending on how severe your bite is, you may need to turn to tetanus vaccine per the doctor’s verdict.
If your bite is life-threatening the doctor may resort to giving you antivenom, but most snake bites never result in a seriousness of that nature.
Which is bigger: an anaconda or a python?
Pythons hold the world record for being the longest, measured at 33 feet. Though the anaconda is much bigger in girth, it grows to about the size of a grown man in the wild.
Can an anaconda eat a human?
The only group of snakes that are able to eat a human are large pythons and anacondas.
How long does it take an anaconda to digest a human?
The process of digesting large foods or meals can take up to two weeks for the python. Having eaten such a large meal, a python might fast for another two months.